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An employee sipped coffee at his desk in an office in Helsinki on 12 July, 2016.
An employee sipped coffee at his desk in an office in Helsinki on 12 July, 2016.

Kyösti Suokas, the deputy chairperson of the Finnish Construction Trade Union, has expressed his staunch opposition to the efforts to promote local bargaining.

Suokas writes in a blog post that if a transition to local bargaining takes place as proposed by employer organisations, and especially by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, the future for the country’s wage earners is bleak. The outcomes, he warns, could include wage cuts of dozens of per cent and constant competition for jobs against low-cost labour from abroad.

Suokas points out that employers have contrastively marketed local bargaining as a way to enable employees to find a new employer if they are displeased with the terms and conditions of employment offered by their current one.

“Can they really?” he asks. “Unlike chief executives, finding a new job may be a tough ask for regular workers.”

He also estimates that the greatest obstacle to increasing local bargaining is the general applicability of collective agreements. “[General applicability] will not be abolished without a fight. If we fall, we fall with our boots on. General applicability has for half-a-century safeguarded the prerequisites for employment, the possibility to live on wages for Finns. We will not give up on it willingly,” he writes.

Finland, he reminds, is home to over two million unionised wage earners.

“They will not give up their livelihood simply because of the demands of those with political power or the millionaires ordering around politicians. General applicability is not equally important to everyone. The fight for general applicability, however, would not leave anyone on the outside looking in,” promises Suokas.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Anni Reenpää – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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